Main content

Dmitry Shostakovich

Donald Macleod explores Dmitry Shostakovich through the lens of his family life

Donald Macleod explores the music of Dmitry Shostakovich through the lens of his family life.

In this week’s episode, Donald introduces us to Shostakovich - the family man. Turning his attention to the middle of the Russian composer's life, we hear the story of his relationships with his two children (Galina, born in 1936, and Maxim, born in 1938) and his first wife Nina, who he was married to from 1935 until her death in 1954. Starting with the complicated early days of building a family, Donald tells us how Shostakovich celebrated the birth of his first daughter, plus the answer to an important question: was Shostakovich a cat or a dog person? Next, we meet the family as wartime evacuees and hear about the symphony that was almost lost in a toilet on a train. We join the Shostakoviches in a country retreat set up by the USSR Union of Composers, where they spent memorable summers, and hear about the terrifying moment Shostakovich received a phone call from Stalin. Lastly, Donald reveals how Shostakovich coped following Nina’s death, and the music which his grief inspired.

Music featured:
Suite for Variety Orchestra
Six Romances on Texts by Japanese Poets, Op 21
The Tale of the Silly Little Mouse
Symphony No 4 in C major Op 43
6 Romances on Verses by English Poets, Op 62 - 1. Sir Walter Raleigh to His Sonne
Sonata No 2 in B minor, Op 61
Symphony No 7 in C major ‘Leningrad’, Op 60
Children's Notebook Op 69 (1-7)
String Quartet 2 in A major, Op 68
Piano Trio No 2 Op 67
Symphony No 8 in C minor Op 65
Pirogov (Finale)
Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor Op 77
The Song of the Forests Op 81
String Quartet No 4, Op 83
Festive Overture, Op 96
Symphony No 10 in E minor, Op 93
Piano Concerto No 2 in F major, Op 102
String Quartet No 7 in F sharp minor, Op 108
Youth (Romance) from The Gadfly

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Amy Wheel for BBC Wales

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for Dmitry Shostakovich

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:

Release date:

Available now

56 minutes